The white abalone (Haliotis sorensii) is the first marine invertebrate to be listed as endangered and to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. With a population size once in the millions, commercial fishing in the early 1970s dramatically reduced abalone density by at least 99%. Once occurring in numbers as high as 1 per square meter of suitable habitat, recent surveys on the Channel Islands show that densities now average 1 per hectare (or 10,000 square meters). Though the fishery was managed using size limits and seasons, such methods failed to account for density dependent reproduction and assumed regular successful settlement of the larvae. Overfishing reduced white abalone densities to such low levels that males and females were too far apart from one another to successfully reproduce.

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